BANAUE highlander experience

From a dozen souls who have been called to partake in this year’s Kalipi Summer trip, I surprisingly learned by Holy Tuesday that there were only five of us (Jan, Daye, Gil, Ray and myself) left willing and prepare to immerse on the high and majestic mountains of Cordillera.

In our little apartment in Sta. Mesa we worked on our itinerary and agreed to initially go to Banaue and then Sagada. That time, we learned that the bus seats from Auto Bus Liner that would take you 10 hours from Manila to Banaue were already reserved until Maundy Thursday. So we had no choice but to break our sojourn into three.

Before midnight whilst Jan and Gil went to Cubao to reserve seats in Baliuag Transit, yours truly surfed the net and printed some travel literature about the places we were about to conquest.

April 12
Around 5.30p when we left the Baliuag bus depot and headed northbound. The lazy bus took us 7 long hours to Solano and from there we transferred to a jeep and took an hour ride to the town of Lagawe. From Ifugao’s capital we bravely ride on the top of the PUJ as it slithered on the zigzag, upward road to Banaue.

We reached the mountainous town of Banaue around 4pm and thanks to Congressmen Sol Chungalao we nestled on a modernized version of Ifugao native house for free. After asking the locals on the best tourists spot of the town, the group hired a PUJ for P1700 to take us in Banaue viewpoint and Batad saddle point.

Just before sunset, we find ourselves in awe beholding the world infamous rice terraces. In my mind I let out phrases like “Putang ina ang ganda!” to appreciate the postcard perfect view aesthetics of the Ifugao mountainscape.

With sprouting souvenir shops nearby, Banaue viewpoint reminded me of Baguio’s Mines View minus architectural viewing platform and crowded spaces. The remakable agricultural scenery was immensely a refreshing worth to see.

April 13
The next day we were up for an early start. The group left the town proper and sailed to Batad, one of Banaue's far flang barangays. After a hour long, rough ride on our hired ever reliable jeepney, we safely landed all smiling on Saddle point. Yes, from afar, it looks lie an outline of a horse saddle curved out on the mountain. We met Rolly our mountain guide and advised us that our lady companion Daye to take a walking stick beacause the winding trail in some part are sharp and steep. Indeed it wasThe trek to the interior villages of Batad challenged our physical prowess.

As we hiked down the sides of the mountains, we were greeted by picturesque highland landscape and its village nestle against a verdant backdrop and warm smiles from locals we met along the way. A hundred strides more and there it was---the amphitheater like Batad rice terraces. Seeing this panorama one would think the greatness of the Ifugao people creating such engineering marvels and preserving its cultural antiquity at its best. The village sits at the center of the terraces and everything seemed undoubtedly magical and perfect!
The high noon heat failed to cease anyone of us from walking downhill that eventually led us to the quite village surrounded by rice paddies. Our feet were happy walking on stones steps and the ancient “pilapil” of the rice paddies.

When we reached the village, the time seemed to move back as if were stranded during medieval times. Although some villagers are now using modern construction method, the presence of numerous native houses called the “faye” in the area mirrors the unique craftsmanship of the Ifugao in architecture. Whilst we were resting, one could smell the rural scent of this village sitting on an almost fable landscape.

Our last stop was at a 5 storey high Tappia waterfalls. Hidden on the range of mountains, it’s situated more than hour away from Batad viewpoint. Getting to this towering waterfall demands a lot of effort but the scenery is breathtaking and refreshing. We took a dip in its cool, deep and round pool and our bodies were revive to survive another journey.

We were back in saddle point before dusk. We were tired but very proud on our conquest.


notes on Kalipi Youth Camp 06

Exhausted with the afternoon April heat and bored staring in the four corners of my room, I dragged myself with my cousin son Patrick, to this Kalipi Youth Camp in Villa Virgen Milagrosa Resort. The Youth Camp is an annual activity spearheaded by the Kalipi to welcome new members or just to congratulate the membership for a job well done in a Kalipi sponsored actions. According to Jan, who is going to see Ankor Wat this summer, the youth camp is to give thanks to the PUP students who involved themselves with time and support in PUP student council election held this year.

Through the years, the creative minds of the organizers have perfected tougher and out of this world challenges and activities for the participants to hurdle. Like on this season, I witnessed participants eating cow's eyeball and intestines, siling labuyo salad, farm snails and anything yucky, but edible (still disgusting) dishes.

What I like about the Liberal Youth Camp is that it educate the participants camaraderie, team work, strategies and values not from someone lecturing it but from every activities they underwent. You learn a lot when you are having fun.

Anyway, I had a nice day with them. I had a nice night swimming even I was there as a plain observer and as a liberal comrades.


To Climb Every Mountains: My Holy Week Special

My Holy Week last year was a complete mess and boredom at its best. I spent it in my shared apartment in Sta. Mesa Manila alone for 3 days watching cable programs on tv, daydreaming and regreting a chance of a lifetime to explore with friends the beautiful Coron, Palawan.

But this year... grrrr... this year no one will stop me from experiencing having a good summer break. My friends and Kalipi buddies will climb the mountains of Cordillera. come holy Tuesday night we are off to the enchanting northern towns of Banaue (oh! that terraces!!!) and Sagada and spend the rest of 7 days in the in the region thousands feet above sea level, breathing fresh and humid ether, and careless on everything that is work and politics related. There, it would be just my unwinding and lazy self surrounded by fog that cirlcles on verdant and slopy landscape.

As you can see, I am very excited excited to this trip. But to make it more fun I will document the travel (and the stays) to later exclusively publish here so those who seek sheer adventure would have a look of it and use for references. I also hope to learn, even for a short stay, about the Cordillera houses so I could have a literature to contribute in my FREE THE FORM architectural blog.

To romanticize my Holy Week Summer getaway, sweet Nang is coming along with me. 3 ehems for this!!!